Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Sunday, March 10, 2013 | 1:15 p.m.
DeVille Smith said at halftime of Saturday’s UNLV game that the Rebels were a clear favorite for him. Apparently the rest of the 61-52 loss to Fresno State didn’t do anything to change his mind, as the 6-foot junior college point guard out of Mississippi committed to UNLV this weekend.
“I love this atmosphere,” said Smith, who was also considering other schools like Baylor, West Virginia and NC State.
Rebel-Net was the first to report the news.
Smith will come in as a junior and immediately provide experience at point guard, where the Rebels should have a healthy competition next year. Along with returners Katin Reinhardt and Daquan Cook, the Rebels are bringing in freshman Kendall Smith and juco transfer Jelan Kendrick. Kendall Smith is more of a combo guard; Kendrick, a 6-foot-7 former Memphis and Ole Miss player who was at Indiana Hills Community College in Iowa this season, can play point or on the wing. Reinhardt struggled at times with the point this season and could remain primarily a shooting guard.
With so many guys along the perimeter, it’s possible Cook or incoming guard Dantley Walker, who committed two years ago before going on a Mormon mission, could take redshirts. That was originally the plan for Cook this season.
DeVille Smith is the fifth member of the incoming class, which also includes Findlay Prep forward Chris Wood. If Anthony Bennett and Mike Moser leave, that would put the Rebels at 13 scholarships in 2013-14. It’s possible the Rebels could be down a scholarship if redshirt junior Carlos Lopez-Sosa decides to graduate or transfer elsewhere, but nothing has been decided on that.
DeVille Smith came out of high school in Jackson, Miss., as a four-star recruit, ranked by Rivals as the 17th-best point guard in the class of 2011. He committed to Mississippi State and in 26 games as a freshman averaged 4.2 points, 1.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game. His assist-to-turnover ratio was 1.3.
DeVille Smith missed some games that year because of headaches and dizziness, according to the Clarion-Ledger, although that’s not what led to his departure. At the end of the year, Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury retired, so DeVille Smith went looking for a better fit.
Instead of transferring to another Division I school and sitting out a year, he went to Southwest Mississippi Community College, where his season ended Wednesday with a one-point overtime loss in the NJCAA Region 23 tournament. DeVille Smith scored a game-high 24 points in the loss.
DeVille Smith said he likes to run, a common refrain from UNLV commits. Although the Rebels’ on-court play hasn’t yet consistently matched the style they’re selling, DeVille Smith likes his chance to change that.
“They said I’m the type of guy they were looking for,” he said.